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Romney Surrogate John Sununu Suggests (Then Retracts) That Colin Powell Endorsed Obama Because He's Black

"...when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him."

Despite his Republican allegiances, on Thursday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell issued his official endorsement of President Barack Obama. While the revered political figure heralded the president's accomplishments, praised his foreign policy and noted other reasons for sticking with Obama, former New Hampshire governor and top Romney surrogate John Sununu seemed to indicate that another factor may be driving Powell's support: race.

In an appearance on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," Sununu made some controversial comments about the former secretary of state's endorsement. At first, he seemed to dance around the subject, but when prompted, Sununu noted that race is likely a factor.

"Well, I'm not sure how important that is. I do like the fact that Colin Powell's boss, George Herbert Walker Bush, has endorsed Mitt Romney all along," he told host Piers Morgan. "And frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama."

Naturally, Morgan asked what the reason he alluded to might be.

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (Photo Credit: CNN)

"Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him," Sununu responded.

A few hours after the CNN appearance, the former New Hampshire governor issued a statement, walking back his comments about race as a motivating factor in Powell's support of Obama.

"Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president’s policies," the statement read. "Piers Morgan’s question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don’t think he should."

Watch the controversial CNN segment, below (section starts at :50):

(H/T: Huffington Post)

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